Updated: September 21, 2020
In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss COVID-19 testing and the likelihood of false negative results if tested too soon after their exposures. Read more here.
CIDRAP summarizes the three latest studies describing in-flight COVID-19 transmission during long-haul flights.
A recent review of data on risk factors for COVID-19 in U.S. community-dwelling adults (between March 1 – June 23, 2020) have identified conditions that can lead to higher hospitalization risk. Among over 5,000 adults, “after adjusting for age, sex, and race/ethnicity”, “hospitalization rates were higher among those with ≥3 underlying conditions like severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and asthma. Adjusting for the presence of an individual underlying medical condition, higher hospitalization rates were observed for adults aged ≥65, 45-64 (versus 18-44 years), males (versus females), and non-Hispanic black and other race/ethnicities (versus non-Hispanic whites).”
Recommendations for Industry
TAG's Q&A: False Negatives Likely in COVID-19 Tests within 3 Days of Exposure
Q. I have a worker who had a known exposure to COVID-19. The worker was tested the day after the exposure and results came back negative. Additionally, they do not have any symptoms. Can they come back to work?
A. No. This is a question that we have been getting more frequently at TAG and we thought it was a good time to revisit a study initially published in pre-print in May 2020. This widely cited study which looked at data in symptomatic cases, shows that persons tested within two days of exposure are almost 100% likely to test negative using a PCR-based test. This probability of false negatives drops only slightly on Day 3. Unfortunately, a negative test during this time cannot be trusted as accurate. As shown in the diagram, the potential for a false negative (when a test identifies a person as not having COVID-19 but they actually do) drops significantly at Day 4; but, it is still likely to give a false negative. The greatest potential for a true negative is on Day 8, which is 3 days after the typical/average time of symptom onset (Day 5). (In fact, if a person does test positive within a couple days of the supposed exposure, it is likely that that were exposed earlier!)
While the data in this study is based on an assessment of symptomatic cases, TAG highly recommends that businesses continue the practice of requiring workers to quarantine for 14 days after an exposure. If they still have no symptoms and test negative on Day 8 following their suspected exposure, TAG recommends that the worker get a medical opinion prior to returning to the workplace.
As of September 21, 2020 (17:03 ET), there are over 31,180,000 cases (>962,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
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